April 23, 2014
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Your 50s: A Health Guide for Women

Your 50s: healthy habits

Your 50s: healthy habits

Cultivate resilience. Your 50s may present many changes and pose fresh new challenges that cover all the mental, physical, and emotional bases. Good thing, then, that folks in their 50s tend to feel less anger and to let go of worries more than they would have when they were younger. This wise resilience will help you handle stress and not let it do the physical damage that it is capable.

Being resilient may also keep you alert to the signs of depression, allowing you to be proactive in your approach to managing it. If you feel you're running low on resilience, get a body-and-mind boost from your friends and family, from volunteering in your community, or doing work you love. Trust your inner resources, and remember: living for half of a century means you've collected half-a-century's worth of wisdom!

Get fit to flourish. 50-something fitness should focus on maintaining a healthy weight, supporting strong bones, and building muscle to boost a lagging metabolism. Cardiovascular exercise will help keep your heart strong, but you also need flexibility training like yoga or Pilates to help keep your joints mobile. You also need strength training or a weight-bearing workout like climbing stairs or callisthenics to help bump up your calorie burn and support your bones and muscles. Keep up with regular physical activity, and you'll be more likely to sleep well and to handle stress on an even keel.

Feel it in your bones. Your first bone density test may occur in your 50s. Your mid-60s is when you are at a greater risk for osteoporosis, so you should work now to fortify and protect your bones. Do regular weight-bearing exercise, which could include lifting weights, jogging, or stair-climbing, as well as muscle-strengthening exercise such as yoga, Pilates, or using exercise bands. If you smoke, you should quit, since women who smoke often have lower bone density and more frequent fractures. If you cannot reach your daily calcium quota of the recommended 1,500 mg from the foods you eat, consider supplements. And pair your calcium with vitamin D to get the full benefits. Some vitamin D can be found in foods you eat, but you may need to take supplements to get the 800 IU of vitamin D per day that is recommended for osteoporosis prevention. You could also spend about 5 to 15 minutes outside, 2 or 3 times a week, to soak up vitamin D from the sun. But keep in mind that this works best for fair-skin individuals who don't wear sunscreen, and that you should generally always wear sunscreen to help prevent skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.

Nourish the nutritional needs of your changing body. Feeding a 50-something appetite? As you pass through menopause, your changing body may require fewer calories. At the same time, you might contend with a slowed metabolism and become more prone to belly fat. Switch out high-fat foods for lower-fat options, and slice into leaner sources of protein, like chicken, fish, beans, or quinoa. Give your body an antioxidant advantage by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, and support healthy cholesterol and digestion with plenty of fibre.

Enjoy the pleasures of passion. By your 50s, you know your body and you know what pleases, sexually speaking. But hormonal shifts during menopause may change the way you feel during foreplay and sexual intercourse. Lower levels of estrogen and reduced blood flow to the vaginal area can make genital tissue drier and less quick to become lubricated upon arousal. Sex may even become painful. You could use over-the-counter lubricants or vaginal moisturizers. Or you could talk to your doctor about prescription products that can help decrease vaginal dryness and ease pain during intercourse.

Accept - no, adore - your changing body. Your appearance may change after menopause. It can be tough to accept the lines, wrinkles, or weight gain and to just age gracefully. You have a choice. You could take the route of more and more women and seek surgical solutions to the self-image or body issues. Or you can resist the urge to resist the changes. You can look upon your body as a reflection of a life well-lived, a testament to time through which you have triumphed or tackled troubles. You can embrace the aging process and by practicing healthy habits mentioned above. Eating well, exercising, keeping the spark in your love life - it will all shine through you, and you will see your own positive intention whenever you gaze into the mirror.

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